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Draperstown U16 2-1 Cookstown U16
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Draperstown U16 2-1 Cookstown U16

Draperstown continued their 100% start to the season with an impressive victory over a highly rated Cookstown team, even without their influential captain, G Conway.  However, it was Cookstown that started off the better, playing attractive football, and whilst not creating any real chances, were the better side in the opening ten minutes. D McLaughlin then came on for K McFlaherty.

After this the home side began to come into the game more, but it was still very much against the run of play when they took the lead. A harmless looking free from G Bradley from the edge of the box was badly misjudged by the Cookstown keeper, and the ball ended up in the back of the net.

This sparked Draperstown into life and they began to gain more and more control over the match, with Bradley up front causing all sorts of hassle, and the Cookstown forward line being expertly marked out of the match by Shaw and McSorley, as by this stage some positional and formational changes had taken place, with Draperstown reverted to a 4-4-2, with Kelly moving up into midfield and Shaw moving across into the centre of the defence.

In midfield, Cookstown could not get to grips with Higgins and Bradys delightful tricks and flicks, whilst Kelly and McKillion grit and bite broke up many Cookstown attacks and started several Draperstown ones. All this contributed to Draperstown completely dominating play, with the rest of the half being played in the Cookstown half. However, Cookstown somehow managed to equalise, once more against the run of play.

For once, bad communication between the defence and the up to know unused keeper McConnell, resulted in a tap in for the Cookstown striker. This knocked Draperstown back a bit, but they managed to keep playing attractive football, and created more and more chances, with the final ball and some last-ditch defending by Cookstown keeping the match at a draw.

Then just at the stroke of the half Cookstown had their second chance of the game, with a crisp shot from inside the box looking destined for the bottom corner. However, the brilliant McConnell somehow managed to reach it before it went into the net.

Draperstown came out the second half much the same as the first, with their defence on top, the midfield dominant and Bradley running the Cookstown defence ragged. Half-chances came and went with no goals in between somehow, but Draperstown still the ones looking most likely to take the lead. McCullagh and Conway even supported the attack from right and left back, crossing and attacking down both flanks to great effect.

And that is just what happened. With 25 minutes remaining, Cookstown gave away a free-kick in a harmless position out the field. However, before the free was taken, Cookstown indiscipline started to show with an off the ball incident causing the free to be moved into a very dangerous position just outside the box, with the Cookstown player receiving a yellow card. From this came the second Draperstown goal of the day, again straight from the free. Higgins hit a wicked shot, which cannoned off the bar, hit the helpless keeper and rebounded into the empty net. It was no more than Draperstown deserved.

After this Draperstown continued to be the better side, ripping apart the Cookstown defence open time after time and effectively soaking up Cookstown attacks, which left them desperate, causing them to shoot hopelessly from far out, none of which even troubled the Draperstown keeper.

In fact, near the end Draperstown very nearly doubled their lead, when another brilliant through-ball reached the impressive debutant McLaughlin, whose great touch and pass to Bradley sent the striker around the keeper. However, he stumbled at the last second and somehow put the ball wide.

However, it didnt matter as soon after the final whistle blew and Draperstown had earned all three points. Their next game is away to Tobermore in two weeks time.

Starting line-up (4-1-3-2): JP McConnell, K McCullagh, G Kelly, D McSorley (C), O Shaw, C Conway, D Brady, D McKillion, J Higgins, G Bradley, K McFlaherty

Subs: D McLaughlin, C McAlarry, S McGrogan